Construction and Real Estate

Developer plans demolition of vacant West Side homes

July 25, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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vacant Grand Rapids West Side homes
Two of the 11 vacant West Side homes Rockford Construction plans to demolish. Courtesy City of Grand Rapids

A local developer is planning to demolish 11 vacant homes on the West Side.

Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction will go in front of the Grand Rapids Planning Commission for approval to demolish the empty, “dilapidated” structures near several in-progress development sites, including The Knickerbocker by New Holland Brewing Co. and 616 Lofts on Alabama by 616 Development.

Together, the properties make up about 1.25 acres.

A number of addresses would be demolished: 449, 457 and 461 First St. NW; 450, 454, 458 and 464 Second St. NW; and 500, 506, 512 and 516 Alabama Ave. NW.

Rockford Construction is in the planning stages of redeveloping the area, according to a proposal letter sent to the city Planning Commission. The lots would remain grass-covered property until further development.

“The existing structures were acquired in a dilapidated, unsafe condition,” Rockford’s application says. “Break-ins were common and unsavory activities occurred in these buildings. The demolition of these structures will result in a safer neighborhood experience for nearby residents and businesses.”

The letter also says the demolition of the buildings would follow the Westside Area Specific Plan in three ways: maximize visibility from the sidewalk; create a natural access control; and enable easier identification of criminal activity.

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